Hop-on, hop-off “designed out” of new Routemasters

A design change to the Heatherwick-designed bus’s rear doors has led to claims passengers will no longer be able to hop on and off.

Image by James O Jenkins for Transport for London
Image by James O Jenkins for TfL

The hop-on, hop-off functionality of Transport for London’s revived Routemaster buses is being “designed out” of future models, it is claimed.

A change to the bus’s rear doors mean that on future models these will slide outwards rather than folding inwards as they currently do.

Writing for the Guardian, Dave Hill suggests that this change means the ability for passengers to be able to hop on and hop off the bus between stops is being “designed out”.

This move follows reports last year that future Routemaster buses will operate without conductors at the rear.

The new Routemaster design, created by Heatherwick Studio, took to the streets of the capital in 2012.

At the time of its launch, much was made of its hop-on, hop-off functionality, with designer Thomas Heatherwick saying: “This has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a team to look again at the opportunities for a new open-platform bus.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson on the rear platform of the New Routemaster. Image by TfL
London Mayor Boris Johnson on the rear platform of the New Routemaster. Image by TfL

London Mayor Boris Johnson, who initiated the Routemaster project, said: “This is the latest, greatest masterpiece of British engineering and design, and I am certain it will become a much loved and iconic vehicle akin to the legendary Routemaster from which it draws so much inspiration.”

TfL confirmed that the new doors would open outwards rather than inwards, but did not address how this would affect passenger use of the bus.

Mike Weston, TfL’s director of buses, says: “New Routemasters are a London icon and much loved by both Londoners and visitors alike.

“A modification is being made to the rear door of future deliveries of these buses, meaning it can open outwards and parallel to the side of the bus, rather than inwards, providing more space for passengers.”

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  • Ian Caldwell June 29, 2015 at 3:11 pm

    Lets hope they also design in adequate air conditioning or opening windows – the rear doors provide much-needed ventilation in summer.

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